Chronic pain is a complex condition that can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. Primary care physicians on the front line of patient care play a vital role in managing chronic pain and referring patients to pain specialists when necessary.
Here’s a guide to help assess and determine when a patient with chronic pain should visit a pain specialist:
1. Assessment of Chronic Pain
Assess the duration and nature of the pain. Chronic pain typically lasts for six weeks or longer and can be continuous or intermittent.
Identify and investigate any underlying medical conditions contributing to the pain.
Evaluate the impact of pain on the patient’s daily life, emotional well-being, and functionality.
2. Conservative Treatment Options
Initiate easily introduced, achievable approaches, such as physical therapy, simple analgesic medications, and lifestyle modifications.
Monitor the patient’s acceptance, compliance and response to these treatments
3. Referral to a Pain Specialist
Consider a referral to a pain specialist if the patient’s pain is severe, not responding to conservative treatments, or if there are indications of complex or specialized pain conditions.
Patients with chronic pain that significantly impairs their quality of life or poses diagnostic challenges may benefit from a pain specialist’s expertise.
4. Team-Based Care
Collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to provide holistic care for the patient, which may include pain specialists, psychologists, pharmacists and physical therapists.
5. Patient-Centered Approach
Involve the patient in the decision-making process and ensure their preferences and goals are considered when determining the need for a pain specialist. By following this approach, patients with chronic pain can receive the most appropriate care, which may include a referral to a pain specialist when necessary. Expertise and collaboration with specialists play a crucial role in improving the lives of patients dealing with chronic pain.
OUR EXPANDING TEAM OF SPECIALISTS AT AXXON PAIN MEDICINE ARE TAKING NEW REFERRALS NOW
1. [AAFP – Assessment of Chronic Pain](https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2010/0815/p434.html)
2. [Identification and Management of Chronic Pain in Primary Care](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4731442/) 3. [Essentials of Good Pain Care: A Team-Based Approach](https://edhub.ama-assn.org/steps-forward/module/2702759)